Hawke’s Bay councils are still waiting for details on how they might handle more relaxed building consent requirements that will enable homeowners, builders and DIY-types to get on with low-risk work without council permission.

Changes to the Building Act planned for the end of August will allow work on sleep-outs, sheds, carports, verandas and porches, short span bridges and outdoor fireplaces to go ahead without building consents from councils.

Under the exemptions, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will increase the number of low-risk building projects that no longer need approval, potentially saving around $18 million in fees and scrapping around 9,000 consents annually.

That will save builders and homeowners time and free councils up to focus on the bigger and higher risk jobs. And potentially increase business for the Mitre 10s, TUMUs and Bunnings of Hawke’s Bay!

Building and Construction Minister, Jenny Salesa, says single-storey detached buildings up to 30 square metres, including sleep-outs, sheds and greenhouses, carports, awnings, ground-based solar panels and water storage bladders will no longer require a council-approval.

The new package of exemptions announced by MBIE adds to the work that can already be done without a building consent, outlined in Schedule 1 of the Building Act.

Some of the new exemptions will use the Licensed Builder Practitioners (LBP) scheme, which recognises the competence of builders allowing them to have their own suite of exemptions, like chartered professional engineers and certifying plumbers.

Exemptions for LBPs will occur once changes are made to the Building Act, later this year. Some work will still, however, require an engineer to sign-off designs or the supervision of a building practitioner.

New guidance for the small jobs covered in the proposed change will be announced once the changes are cemented in law.


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